January 27, 2014 9:41:57 AM
Legislator apologizes for any "consternation" he may have caused
Thanks for the item in Sunday's Dispatch; I do agree to keeping leaders of the Legislature and state offices, as well as local offices, accountable.
In an interview with Emily Wagster of the AP in reference to a cloning bill introduced by me (on the first day of the session) I should have taken more time; your criticism is well taken.
I have researched the matter and I was emailed a request last year to "pre-file" legislation many weeks before the session was set to open. The requestor was one of the two people I told Ms. Wagster about, but honestly wasn't sure of at the time.
I had not even proofread the bill and immediately said I did not sponsor same; I was wrong. Emily showed me the newly assigned legislation.
It was natural for me to be asked, and this is not the first time I have been asked. In 2006, as then chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I worked on and we passed such legislation to the Senate. I am very familiar with the legislation, but other than the requestor (who is a physician and former member of the House and Judiciary Committee), there had been no hue or cry from the pro-life groups to enact such legislation this year. However, I was asked to introduce the legislation, as I said, via email last fall.
As legislators we should keep up with legislation we sponsor, and I take full blame for same. I will admit as chairman of one of the two ranking committees in the House of Representatives, I am asked and also required to author or sponsor hundreds of bills each year.
I take full responsibility for this faux pas, and if I need to explain this matter in any more detail to you or any one I will be more than glad to, and apologize for any consternation I may have caused by this.
Jeffrey C. "Jeff" Smith
Smith (R) represents House District 39 in the Legislature. He is chair of the Ways and Means committee.